A few items from the news caught my eye over the past few weeks, and I’d like to bring some attention to them.
First, the draft text of the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) was released – or at least part of it. I’ve blogged about some of the provisions in the ACTA that make me nervous, here and here. Until we actually got to see what was in the agreement, in some respects what I was blogging about was simply speculation. The three strikes text has been removed from the Agreement. This appears to be a good sign; however, all references to specific country positions have been removed, and the negotiations are still anything but transparent. Yesterday, the European Union called on Canada to support more transparency for ACTA negotiations, calling for the negotiations to move to the World Intellectual Property Organization, or WIPO. This is an issue I’m going to be following very closely.
On a related matter, the federal government will introduce “new” copyright legislation within six weeks. This has raised the ire of many people and organizations in Canada as it appears that the legislation will not include any of the recommendations from the public consultations held on copyright reform last year. Rather, it sounds like the new bill will closely resemble Bill C61, originally introduced to Parliament in 2008. It died on the order paper when Parliament was prorogued in December 2008.
There are a few items in Bill C-61 that made me uneasy. The legislation would require Internet Service Providers (ISPs) to notify a subscriber if there has been an allegation of copyright infringement made against them. Once an allegation has been made by a copyright holder the ISP would be required by law to retain customer data for six months from the day they receive the claim. This makes me uneasy as there is no judicial oversight proposed – it is simply a private company retaining your personal information, including a history of your Internet activity, based on an allegation of wrongdoing. However, since we don’t yet know what will be in the new legislation, it’s a little premature to comment, but it’s another issue to follow, for sure.
On a positive note, last week was a big week for the Internet. On May 5, the first three top-level domains in non-Latin characters were inserted into the DNS root zone. I’ve blogged about what the introduction of International Domain Names (IDNs) means, and I’m proud of CIRA’s support of their development. Congratulations to the team at ICANN on this historic accomplishment!
Lastly, if you’re at the Canada 3.0 conference in Toronto, plan to attend the Usage of Networks – The Can of Worms session. Yours truly will be one of the panelists, along with Jim Roche and Scott Vanstone. The panel will be moderated by Chris Labrador, the VP of Advanced Technology at RIM. I encourage you to come out as it’s shaping up to be a dynamic session on networks in Canada. If you can’t make it to Canada 3.0, no worries: I will be posting my speech to this blog on Wednesday morning.